As the famed financial journalist Michael Lewis once put it, in business “lawyers play the same role as medics in war: They come in after the shooting to clean up the mess.” As anyone who has observed the real estate finance industry in recent years knows, there have been plenty of deals gone bad, and many lawyers sent in to pick up the pieces, to put it mildly. For our annual Lawyers’ Issue, we’ve eschewed the traditional “top attorneys” sort of list, and instead talked to prominent lawyers in fields relevant to commercial real estate about what is on their—and their clients’—minds. We asked what’s gone wrong, what’s gone right and how to make things go right next time. The result is an assortment of pending cases that should give us pause, trends to keep an eye on and market observations to bet on. They range from advice on how to best negotiate with private equity investors, to a primer on what New York’s legal minds learned from the Stuyvesant Town debacle, to details on what insiders call the deterioration of underwriting on CMBS loans.
The Lawyers’ Issue